As more media comes out, and people consume more of it, niche subgenres form. One person comes up with some twist on a big popular genre, and it goes over so well with so many it births new story types.
These can range from strange, to oddly specific, to so niche you would think it would be impossible for it to be as popular as it is. Some of these are also subgenres of fantasy, science fiction, and horror, and that’s what I’m interested in today. I wanted to go over some niches I would love to see more of on streaming sights like Netflix.
The Hunger Games propelled this idea into the mainstream, and I’m amazed how little it kept going from there. The death game concept makes for such an easy and fun structure. You just need to put characters we like (and some we don’t) where there can only be a set number of survivors/winners and then let the drama unfold.
This is a book genre term, but what it is in television is essentially Ready Player One. This is a genre where an RPG or other fantasy/science fiction story happens in a VR video game setting. It allows a lot of commentary about video games, and our relationship to reality and fiction. A LitRPG show would need to be made by people who both like and understand video game culture to avoid cringey lingo, but it could be excellent. It also doesn’t matter terribly if it’s an action story, as Kiss Me First proved a while ago.
WandaVision is doing so many cool things, but one of them is being a loving replication/send-up of classic sitcoms. So, with that concept now established as a good idea, why not do the same for other genres/subgenres? I have mixed feelings about Truth Seekers, but that was a show that used paranormal media and ghost hunting subculture to tell a meta-textual and reference-heavy stylistic story. Nostalgia sells, so make stories that take the old and wrap it around new concepts. Sure, a lot of it might end up pretentious, but I can see a lot of fascinating work come out of approaching things this way. I’d love to see more shows that deconstruct or warp things like 90s cartoons, 60s action, or even things like cooking shows.
I’m told they revived Are You Afraid of The Dark? and might do the same for Goosebumps, and I think that’s amazing. Anthology shows allow a lot of creative, shorter ideas to be explored. It also makes for a more casual viewing experience because you can hop into any story you like and rarely have to watch in any order. Essentially, it’s the appeal of YouTube, but more focused. The reboot of Tales from the Crypt is not happening yet but continuing to try to bring it back—and make new anthology series—is a great idea.
Card Game Shows
So, I know there’s always a new Yu-Gi-Oh variant and that a Magic: The Gathering fantasy series is soon coming, but I want to see those two mixed. I want to see someone try to tackle the world of card games (with a fantastical edge) with the same level of respect and fascination as Queen’s Gambit. A Chaotic for modern adults. A Twitch eSports tournament, but as a serialized fantasy drama.
And that’s the list. I know some of these already exist, but there can always be more of them, and they can always be in more big-budget forms. Considering the new shows we’ve seen lately, any subgenre is possible.
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